For the final month-plus of his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, veteran center Andre Drummond wasn’t taking the floor with his teammates. In mid-February, reports emerged that Drummond would not be with the team as Cleveland attempted to find a trade partner for the productive big man, but Drummond’s $28.8 million ultimately proved onerous and he remained under contract with the Cavaliers through Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
On cue, Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff told reporters that the club would work with Drummond on a buyout, putting the 27-year-old on the market as a free agent. This wasn’t a surprising outcome in that, given his hefty salary, it always seemed to be a long shot that he would be traded for value. As such, speculation has been rampant for weeks as to where Drummond might ultimately land after a buyout was struck, and his next destination will be the Los Angeles Lakers, as his agent told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Once Andre Drummond clears waivers at 5 PM ET, he intends to sign with the Lakers, his agent Jeff Schwartz of @excelbasketball tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 28, 2021
At present, the Lakers are attempting to weather the storm with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis sidelined by injury. While Drummond’s overall value is polarizing in certain circles, the 6’10 center is one of the best rebounders in recent history, averaging 13.5 rebounds per game this season and 13.8 rebounds per game for his career, and he could provide an element that neither Marc Gasol or Montrezl Harrell can match in the frontcourt for Los Angeles.
It must be noted that, despite Drummond’s physical gifts, it would be inaccurate to peg him as a dynamic rim-runner and/or lob threat, at least when compared to the way he has played in the recent past. However, it is possible he could fit snugly into a smaller role with a contender like the Lakers, especially as Los Angeles has the ability to simply not play him if he is not fulfilling the role the team envisions.
Drummond’s days as a two-time All-Star and four-time rebounding champion may be over at 27 after more than 600 games of NBA mileage. A fascinating trial awaits in Los Angeles, though, and Drummond will be a smaller piece of a contending puzzle for the first time in his professional career.